Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed that he's held talks with centre-back Shkodran Mustafi as the Gunners look to find the Germany international a new club this month.
The 27-year-old has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League since his £37m move from Valencia in 2016 and is widely seen as a major weak point in their defence, with Arsenal conceding more goals last season that a handful of teams below them in the table – including Newcastle United.
It's been rumoured for some time that Mustafi could be pushed out of the exit door by Arsenal this summer, and manager Emery has now admitted that he's told the defender that there's still a possibility for him to leave the Emirates this summer.
"I spoke with him when we finished last season," Emery said, quoted by Sky Sports. "I spoke with him when we started pre-season and I spoke with him also two weeks ago saying maybe there was the possibility he can leave.
"But I don't have doubts if he needs to play because he is a good player. Maybe we decided to be more competitive in each position, at centre-back with David Luiz, with another player in the middle with [Dani] Ceballos, with Kieran Tierney, with [Nicolas] Pépé.
"I think being more competitive we can respond better in the season. Some players maybe they can play less with that situation and can leave. But it's one decision taken with the player, with the club, with the team. At the moment he is here and really if we need, he plays with us. I have confidence he will do well.
"Some supporters can believe or like one player more than another player, that's normal. But inside I want to be strong and to create a big squad with a big, competitive, winning mentality and above us, with confidence in each other."
Although Mustafi appears to be facing the chop in north London, the former Everton academy star is still in line to feature for the Gunners when they kick off their Premier League campaign on Sunday.
Alexandre Lacazette and new club-record signing Pépé are also in contention to feature against Newcastle United, but Sead Kolašinac and Mesut Özil will miss the trip to St. James' Park over fresh security concerns.